Public holidays in Malaysia

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There are two types of public holidays in Malaysia, those at national and state levels. National holidays are normally observed by most governmental and private organisations. State holidays are normally observed by certain states in Malaysia or when it is relevant to the state itself.

In addition, government agencies are closed every Saturday and Sunday in most of Malaysia, while in Kedah, Kelantan, Johor and Terengganu they are closed every Friday and Saturday.

Types of holidays[edit]

Malaysia has one of the highest numbers of public holidays in the world, ranking number seven in the top ten countries after Thailand, Indonesia, India and Hong Kong. Some holidays are federally gazetted public holidays and some are public holidays observed by individual states. Other festivals are observed by particular ethnic or religion groups, but are not public holidays. The main holy days of each major religion are public holidays, taking place on either the western calendar or religious ones.

Secular[edit]

The most widespread holiday is the "Hari Kebangsaan" (National Day), otherwise known as "Hari Merdeka" (Independence Day) on 31 August commemorating the independence of the Federation of Malaya. This, as well as Labour Day (1 May), the King's birthday (first Saturday of June) and some other festivals are major national public holidays. Federal Territory day is celebrated in the three Federal territories. Malaysia Day, held on 16 September to commemorate the formation of Malaysia, became a nationwide holiday in 2010. Before that it was celebrated only in Sabah. New Year's Day is also observed as a public holiday in all Malaysian states, except for Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

Religious and ethnic[edit]

Muslim holidays are highly prominent in Malaysia. The most important of these is Hari Raya Puasa (also called Hari Raya Aidilfitri) which is the Malay translation of Eid al-Fitr. It is generally a festival honoured by the Muslims worldwide marking the end of Ramadan will the fasting month. In addition to Hari Raya Puasa, they also celebrate Hari Raya Aidiladha (also called Hari Raya Haji referring to its occurrence after the culmination of the annual Hajj or Hari Raya Qurban), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul (Birthday of the Prophet).

Malaysian Chinese typically hold the same festivals observed by Chinese around the world. Chinese New Year is the most prominent, lasting for 15-days and ending with Chap Goh Mei (十五瞑). Other festivals celebrated by Chinese are the Qingming Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Malaysian Indians of the Hindu faith celebrate Deepavali, the festival of light,[1] while Thaipusam is a celebration in which Hindu pilgrims from all over the country meet at the Batu Caves.[2] The most important Sikh festival is the Sikh new year or Vaisakhi festival. Other important days are Lodi and Gurpurab. Other Indian and Indochinese communities observe their new year celebrations at around the same time, such as Pohela Boishakh of the Bengalis and Songkran (water festival) of the Thais. People in the northern states do celebrate the Thai festival of Loy Kratong.[3]

Wesak (Malay for Vesak), the Buddhist festival commemorating Buddha's birth, is a public holiday.[1] Malaysia's Christian community observes most of the holidays observed by Christians elsewhere, most notably Christmas[1] and Easter. Good Friday, however, is only a public holiday in the two Bornean states. The harvest festivals of Gawai in Sarawak and Kaamatan in Sabah are also important for East Malaysians.[4]

New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, and the start of the Islamic calendar are all public holidays.[1]

Participation[edit]

Despite most of the festivals being identified with a particular ethnic or religious group, festivities are often participated in by all Malaysians. One example of this is the celebration of Kongsi Raya which is used when Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year coincide. The term Kongsi Raya (which means "sharing the celebration" in Malay) was coined because of the similarity between the word kongsi and the Chinese New Year greeting of Gong xi fa cai. Similarly, the portmanteau Deepa Raya was coined when Hari Raya Puasa and Deepavali coincided.[5]

A practice known as "open house" (rumah terbuka) is common during the festivities, especially during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Christmas. Open house means that all well-wishers are received and that everyone regardless of background is invited to attend.[6] Open houses are normally held at the home of the host and food are also prepared by the host, however, there are also open houses held at larger public venues especially when hosted by government agencies or corporations. Also during the festivities, most Malaysians would take the time off work or school to return to their hometowns to celebrate the festivities with their extended relatives. This practice is commonly known as balik kampung and usually causes traffic jams on most highways in the country.[7]

2014 Public holidays by states and territories [8][edit]

Date Name Johor
Johor
Kedah
Kedah
Kelantan
Kelantan
Federal Territory (Malaysia)
Kuala Lumpur
Federal Territory (Malaysia)
Labuan Territory
Malacca
Malacca
Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan
Pahang
Pahang
Penang
Penang
Perak
Perak
Perlis
Perlis
Federal Territory (Malaysia)
Putrajaya
Sabah
Sabah
Selangor
Selangor
Sarawak
Sarawak
Terengganu
Terengganu
1 January New Year's Day
14 January Negeri Sembilan State Ruler's Birthday
14 January Birthday of Prophet Muhammad National
17 January Thaipusam
19 January Kedah State Ruler's Birthday
31 January Chinese New Year (1st day) National
1 February Chinese New Year (2nd day)
1 February Federal Territory Day
4 March Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu
15 April Declaration of Malacca City as Historical City
18 April Good Friday
19 April Perak State Ruler's Birthday
26 April Terengganu State Ruler's Birthday
1 May Labour Day National
7 May Hari Hol of Pahang
13 May Wesak Day National
17 May Perlis State Ruler's Birthday
27 May Israk dan Mikraj
30 and 31 May Pesta Menuai
1 and 2 June Gawai Dayak
7 June Malaysia King's Birthday National
29 June First day of Ramadan
7 July Declaration of George Town as World Heritage Site
12 July Penang State Governor's Birthday
15 July Day of Nuzul Al-Quran
28 and 29 July Hari Raya Puasa National
31 August Merdeka Day National
13 September Sarawak State Governor's Birthday
16 September Malaysia Day National
4 October Sabah State Governor's Birthday
5 October Hari Raya Aidiladha (1st day) National
6 October Hari Raya Aidiladha (2nd day)
10 October Melaka State Governor's Birthday
23 October Deepavali
24 October Pahang State Ruler's Birthday
25 October First day of Muharram National
11 and 12 November Kelantan State Ruler's Birthday
22 November Johor State Ruler's Birthday
29 November Hari Hol Sultan Johor
11 December Selangor State Ruler's Birthday
25 December Christmas Day National

Public holidays by states and territories[edit]

Date English Name Local Name Johor
Johor
Kedah
Kedah
Kelantan
Kelantan
Flag of the Federal Territories - Malaysia.svg
Kuala Lumpur
Flag of the Federal Territories - Malaysia.svg
Labuan Territory
Malacca
Malacca
Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan
Pahang
Pahang
Penang
Penang
Perak
Perak
Perlis
Perlis
Flag of the Federal Territories - Malaysia.svg
Putrajaya
Sabah
Sabah
Selangor
Selangor
Sarawak
Sarawak
Terengganu
Terengganu
1 January New Year's Day Hari Tahun Baharu
January Thaipusam Thaipusam
1 February Federal Territory Day Hari Wilayah
January–February Chinese New Year (1st day) Tahun Baru Cina (Hari ke 1) National
January–February Chinese New Year (2nd day) Tahun Baru Cina (Hari ke 2)
4 March Anniversary of Installation of Sultan of Terengganu Hari Ulang Tahun Pertabalan Sultan Terengganu
March–April Good Friday Hari Jumaat Agung
15 April Declaration of Malacca City as Historical City Perisytiharan Bandar Melaka sebagai Bandaraya Bersejarah
1 May Labour Day Hari Pekerja National
7 May (Hari Hol of Pahang) Hari Hol Pahang
May–June Wesak Day Hari Waisak National
May 30&31 Pesta Menuai
June 1&2 Gawai Dayak Gawai Dayak
1st Sat June Malaysia King's Birthday Hari Keputeraan Yang di-Pertuan Agong National
7 July Declaration of George Town as World Heritage Site Perisytiharan George Town sebagai Tapak Warisan Dunia
31 August Merdeka Day Hari Kebangsaan National
16 September Malaysia Day Hari Malaysia National
October–November Deepavali Deepavali
29 November (Hari Hol Sultan Johor) Hari Hol Sultan Johor
25 December Christmas Day Hari Krismas National
Muharram 1 First day of Muharram Awal Muharram National
Rabi' al-awwal 12 Birthday of Prophet Muhammad Maulidur Rasul National
Rajab 27 Isra and Mi'raj Israk dan Mikraj
Ramadan 1 First day of Ramadan Awal Ramadan
Ramadan 17 Day of Nuzul Al-Quran Nuzul Al-Quran
Shawwal 1&2 Hari Raya Puasa Hari Raya Aidilfitri National
Dhu al-Hijjah 10 Hari Raya Qurban (1st day) Hari Raya Aidiladha (Hari ke 1) National
Dhu al-Hijjah 11 Hari Raya Qurban (2nd day) Hari Raya Aidiladha (Hari ke 2)
Variant State Governor's Birthday Hari Jadi 2nd Sat Oct 2nd Sat July 1st Sat Oct 2nd Sat Sep
Variant State Ruler's Birthday Hari Keputeraan 22 Nov 19 Jan 11 Nov 14 Jan 24 Oct 19 April 17 May 11 Dec 26 April
Total 19 16 16 17 17 18 16 18 20 18 16 17 19 16 18 17

Festivals of Malaysia[edit]

Religious Festivals[edit]

Muslim Festivals[edit]

Christian festivals[edit]

Hindu festivals[edit]

Buddhist festivals[edit]

Taoist festivals[edit]

Sikh Festivals[edit]

Ethnic Festivals[edit]

Chinese Festivals[edit]

East Malaysian Festivals[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2008). World and Its Peoples: Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Brunei. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation. p. 1221. 
  2. ^ "Festivals of Malaysia ~ Thaipusam Festival". Go2travelmalaysia.com. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Ben van Wijnen. "Loi Krathong". Malaysiasite.nl. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Malaysia – Holidays". Go2travelmalaysia.com. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "The English Teacher". Malaysian English Language Teaching Association. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Religion". Matic.gov.my. Retrieved 8 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "Ripple effect of the festive rush". New Straits Times. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.mef.org.my/PublicHolidays/PH2014.pdf

External links[edit]